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Boycott Times Picayune/Nola.com now impacting New Orleans paper, site

Optimized-boycott1now that the niceties are officially over, let’s sum up briefly where we are in the great new orleans newspaper war, shall we:

-anyone who disagrees with the little dick mathews/newhouse clan’s dismantling of our daily paper goes straight into a newhouse file labeled “noise”.

-the impressive “v.i.p. letter” signed by everyone from tom benson to archie manning to business and community leaders to the pope etc. is being used as toilet paper by the smug ownership of the paper.

-the 10,000-signature petition to the owners calling for a return to daily newspaper publications is facing a similar fate as the v.i.p. letter.

all the genteel attempts at civil discourse between new orleanians and our newspaper’s carpetbagging owners have been disdainfully rejected by an arrogant corporate family. and to that i say, thank god that’s over with! because if you’ve read my stuff before you know that none of this comes as a surprise to yours truly. these failed attempts at persuasion only delayed the inevitable next phase of the war of the newspaper.

it’s time for the elite of new orleans to get on board with the masses and get down and dirty, because new orleans does down and dirty better than anyone.

in a matter of mere days since the advent of their fiasco of mismanagement and destruction, the mathews/newhouse cartel have turned the sometimes picayune into a 2nd class paper running haggard news, poorly edited and mis-prioritized, to say the least. and their “jewel” of the future of journalism, their beloved “nola.com” is a cookie cutter site patched together, bloated with fluff while real news gets buried. so says me, but also so says just about every major respected journalism publication in america.

even a reporter from inside the paper, at the risk of her own financial wellbeing and her separation package, defied the picayune management’s gag clause and spoke out: "compared to other news outlets, our website is a joke. we break news – but no one would know because of the worst news website known to man... i can tell you that everyone hates our website and is losing respect for us as a hard news leader.” ain’t it the truth.

the arrogant and smug dickie mathews/newhouse clan will only relent when we hit them where it hurts them the most: in their wallets and in their ginormous egos.

on June 18th a small band of insurgents began a facebook page called boycott nola.com. the mission was and remains simple: to deprive the newhouse clan and little dick mathews of that which they cherish most: a compliant and obedient audience ready to be herded like sheep from their dismantled newspaper to their crappy website. there, their “business model” sees them reaping large profits from advertising revenues and delivering mediocre work product. the mediocre part has already kicked in.

the newhouses counted on polite resistance that would eventually succumb to their wishes. what they didn’t count on was boycott nola.com. in just three weeks, that simple little facebook page has gathered an audience of over 67,000 reading their stories, seeing their graphics, visiting alternative online news sites other than the newhouse webmess.

in the past week alone just under 17,000 citizens have been reached with content from boycott nola.com on facebook., and they’re spreading the word like crazy. to quote at least one visitor of the boycott page: “this thing can really work.”

most impressively, in the last seven days 459 individuals have actually taken the initiative and created stories about the boycott page, sharing insights and information with thousands more of their friends!

the evidence of the impact of the boycott thus far has been vivid. anecdotally, visiting friends’ pages as well as my own, it’s clear that the number of postings of news items from nola.com has fallen dramatically. where there was once a torrent, now there’s a drip. alternative news and information sites are reaping the benefits of the boycott, filling the public need to know and increasing their readerships. the boycott page regularly shares and updates lists of online news options. these postings are among the favorites of the site’s visitors.

to put the chances for the boycott’s success in perspective, consider this: neilsen online ratings has reported that just over a month ago, nola.com’s readership was down a whopping 30% from the same time last year… and that was before the boycott began! imagine if new orleanians continue to desert nola.com at an accelerated rate. say, modestly, that boycott nola.com on facebook is able to knock another 20-25% off of hits and visits to the nola.com website; the impact on advertising revenues and profits would be mind-boggling. and i’m betting that the next time neilsen shares its online ratings the numbers would be a shock to the newhouse cartel.

then, and only then, would the sometimes picayune be forced, kicking and screaming, to reassess their “business model” and either relent and return to daily print publication…or better yet, sell the paper.

and for you naysayers out there, consider this: as an engine of social change, facebook has been credited with bringing down governments. ask the people of libya, of egypt, throughout the mideast and europe. this isn’t hyperbole, it’s an acknowledged fact.

and if that is true, what makes you think that we can’t impact one arrogant, greed driven corporate family and change the future of news in our little old town?

all that’s left is to visit http://www.facebook.com/#!/BoycottNolacom and see for yourselves. like the page. share the page and graphics with your friends. share its lists of alternative news and information sites, and use those sites instead of the sometimes picayune’s webmess. it’s that simple.

-sid arroyo

Bayoubuzz Note: The above opinion is that of Sid Arroyo's and not necessarily that of Bayoubuzz ownership or anyone associated with the web site

What are your thoughts about Nola.com? Give us your opinion in the forum http://www.bayoubuzz.com/forum/new-orleans-news/10-times-picayune-digital-conversion

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Sidney Arroyo

Sidney Arroyo is a progressive political activist and consultant who has worked on numerous campaigns in the New Orleans area.

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